ADHD and Being a Loner

I’d had to travel out of town for a medical appointment which I’d dreaded, and decided to stop at one of my favorite restaurants for lunch on the way home.
The appointment went far better than I’d expected, so instead of driving home feeling sorry for myself I felt happy and celebratory. I began wishing I’d had company for lunch.
This got me thinking about why I hadn’t called ahead to make a lunch date with a friend. That’s when it struck me: for nearly half a century, I’d believed I was a natural-born loner. By the time the waitress brought my food, I’d started to deconstruct that belief.

Like the layers of an onion I peeled back each reason why I found myself sitting alone that day when I would have far preferred company.

Layer 1: ADHD Time-Management Rationalizing

Since it’s next to impossible to know if an appointment with a specialist will start on time, or how long it will take, it’s much easier to just go to the appointment and drive home rather than scheduling a lunch date when I’m not sure when I’ll be available.
Thinking this through, I realized that the friend I would have invited to join me would have been flexible as to when we met for lunch. Still, I’d chosen to eat alone. To read more, click here.

Top 10 Mental Health Apps

With so many apps on the market, it’s hard to know which are useful.
Many are designed by software developers instead of psychologists, without scientific testing. They range from beneficial, to harmless but useless, to bordering on fraudulent.
The apps selected for this list make no hucksterish claims and are based on established treatments. Progressive Muscle Relaxation, for example, has been used for a century and is likely just as effective in this new medium. Knowledge from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavior Therapy enrich two apps on this list. Others mix solid information with ingenuity.

Don’t forget to download the free PsychCentral app to keep up with the latest mental health information.
1. BellyBio
Free app that teaches a deep breathing technique useful in fighting anxiety and stress. A simple interface uses biofeedback to monitor your breathing. Sounds cascade with the movements of your belly, in rhythms reminiscent of waves on a beach. Charts also let you know how you’re doing. A great tool when you need to slow down and breathe.
2. Operation Reach Out
Literally a lifesaving app, this free intervention tool helps people who are having suicidal thoughts to reassess their thinking and get help. Recommended by followers of @unsuicide, who report that this app has helped in suicidal crises. Developed by the military, but useful to all. Worth a download even if you’re not suicidal. You never know if you might need it.
3. eCBT Calm
Provides a set of tools to help you evaluate personal stress and anxiety, challenge distorted thoughts, and learn relaxation skills that have been scientifically validated in research on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Lots of background and useful information along with step-by-step guides. Click here to read more.

Antidepressants: Does it take time before they work?

by Susan Klatz Beal

Created on: February 22, 2009
As someone who has suffered from clinical major depression for many years, I’ve tried many different antidepressants. The manner in which different classes of antidepressants varies, and they work on different parts of the brain. The one thing that seems to hold true of all antidepressants, insofar as I have experienced, is that they all take time to work.
Most antidepressants start to work right away, but in order to be effective, they need to build up to a therapeutic level in the blood stream. That typically takes anywhere from 3 to 6 weeks. Once the drug reaches the therapeutic level, it will still take a while longer for it to become optimally effective.
Whenever I have tried a new antidepressant, I’ve always been advised that the only way to determine how effective the drug is, or how well it is working is to remain on the drug for at least three months. The reason for using three months as the bench mark is because the drug may not be optimally effective if the patient isn’t willing to give the drug some time beyond the point at which it reaches the therapeutic level to actually begin to do its work.
There have been many times when I’ve had to wait for many drugs to take effect, I know all too well how frustrating this can be. The reality is that depression doesn’t develop overnight. Doctor’s don’t make a diagnosis of depression on someone who has been out of sorts, bummed out or even blue for a mere few days or a week. Most patients aren’t so quick to run to a doctor either. To read more, click here.

Self-help books ‘treat depression’

Prescribing self-help books on the NHS is an effective treatment for depression, a study suggests.
Depressed womanPatients offered books, plus sessions guiding them in how to use them, had lower levels of depression a year later than those offered usual GP care.
The effect was seen in addition to the benefits of other treatments such as antidepressants, Scottish researchers report in the journal Plos One.
Such an approach may help the NHS tackle demand for therapy, they said.
More than 200 patients who had been diagnosed with depression by their GP took part in the study, half of whom were also on antidepressant drugs.
Some were provided with a self-help guide dealing with different aspects of depression, such as being assertive or overcoming sleep problems.
Patients also had three sessions with an adviser who helped them get the most out of the books and plan what changes to make.
After four months those who had been prescribed the self-help books had significantly lower levels of depression than those who received usual GP care. Click here to read more.

Hiding Bisexuality Increases Risk of Depression

By Senior News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on January 3, 2013
Experts say bisexual men are less likely than gay men to come out of the closet and declare their sexuality. Researchers say this concealment is associated with more symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Investigators from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, examined bisexual men “on the down low,” a subgroup of bisexual men who live predominantly heterosexual lives and do not disclose their same-sex behavior, a group that has not been studied to date.
Specifically, the researchers studied 203 nongay-identified men in New York City, who self-reported being behaviorally bisexual and had not disclosed their same-sex behavior to their female partners.
Study findings, published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, reveal that men who live with a wife or girlfriend, who think of themselves as heterosexual, and who have a lower frequency of sex with men, were more likely to conceal their same-sex behavior.
Greater frequency of sex with women also correlated with greater concealment. Men with a household income of $30,000 or more per year reported greater concealment about their same-sex behavior than men with lower incomes.
“Our research provides information on the factors that might contribute to greater concealment among this group of behaviorally bisexual men,” said Eric Schrimshaw, Ph.D., lead author.
“Such information is critical to understanding which of these bisexual men may be at greatest risk for mental health problems.”
Nearly 38 percent of the men reported that they have not shared with anyone that they have sex with men. Only 41 percent reported that they had confided in a best friend or parent. To continue reading, click here.

Afraid of Failure? 4 Steps to Breaking Down Failure

Posted on August 8, 2012 by

4 Steps to Break Down Failure

Have you ever felt like a failure? I totally have. But I am not alone.
There is an epidemic of feelings of failure in our country. And failure is so definitive. When you think you failed, there is not much wiggle room to be anything other than “a failure.” A horrible way to see yourself! This becomes a belief ingrained and tainting everything else we do and try. Here are four ways to break it down.
1. Lower Your Expectations
Failure is in relation to something. Usually some standard or expectation that was not met: I am not thin enough, pretty enough, smart enough. Having unreasonable expectations is more detrimental on our health than anything else. It brings in judgment, which compounds every other problem we already have.
When we have a feeling which is appropriate to the situation, and then we judge ourselves, and worry, the problem becomes so much bigger and harder to recover from. Then, we berate ourselves for not recovering quickly–yet another layer of judgment. The original feeling is peanuts compared to the complex mess layers of judgment and fear add.
Don’t add them. Allow yourself to feel. Don’t worry, you can handle it. Be gentle and compassionate with yourself, lower those outrageous expectations! Instead of dwelling, do something.
2. Know there is a point to trying
Past feelings of failure attempt to take away our point to trying to feel better, accomplish something. We get convinced that we will fail anyway. We assume trying hard will make us more disappointed when we do actually fail, and so we put less effort in in hopes to protect our heart. With less effort, we may actually not achieve our goal and we can say “See? I always fail. Good thing I did not try.”
There is a point. Rarely is anything accomplished without trying. And if we try and don’t succeed, our heart actually feels better, not worse. We build confidence knowing that we did our best. We feel empowered because we can respond to things in life.
Click here to read more.

Virtual patient may help future doctors prevent suicide

Thu, 2013-01-03 08:33
Georgia Health Sciences University
A virtual patient named Denise may help future physicians feel more comfortable and capable assessing suicide risk.
Denise, a mother and wife, is seeking psychiatric care for insomnia and a mood disorder.
“Primary care doctors tend to be the frontline providers for people with mental illness so we need to put the same kind of educational effort into suicide risk assessment that we put into recognizing a heart attack,” said Dr. Adriana Foster, psychiatrist at the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Health Sciences University. “Suicide risk assessment should be one of the ‘must haves.’”
Suicide is occurring earlier and more often in the United States than ever before. Rates are up 25 percent in the last decade to 12.4 per 100,000 individuals annually. It’s the second-leading cause of death for college students and third for all 15-24 year olds, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Twenty percent of high school students report having seriously considered suicide during the previous 12 months.
The MCG study of second-year medical students is helping determine if the opportunity to ask tough questions about suicide risk to a virtual (computer-simulated) patient can help real families avoid this tragedy.
“We hope this approach will help future practitioners deal with really difficult issues such as suicide, psychosis, anxiety and depression,” Foster said. Mood disorders, such as depression, are the most common mental health disorders coming to physician attention that carry a high risk of disability and suicide, she said. Click here to read more.

Sweet Sodas and Soft Drinks May Raise Your Risk of Depression, Study Finds

By | Healthy Living – Wed, 9 Jan, 2013 1:30 PM EST
We know that sugary sodas aren’t good for our bodies; now it turns out that they may not be good for our minds, either. A new study of more than 260,000 people has found a link between sweetened soft-drinks and depression — and diet sodas may be making matters worse.

Americans drink far more soda than people in other countries — as much as 170 liters per person per year (no wonder New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg banned super-sized servings of the stuff). But the impact of this study isn’t limited to the United States. “Sweetened beverages, coffee and tea are commonly consumed worldwide and have important physical-and may have important mental-health consequences,” study author Dr. Honglei Chen, an investigator at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, said in a statement.
To read more, click here.

Mental-health experts define ‘recovery’

December 22, 2011|By Shari Roan, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog

Recovery is a beautiful word for people suffering from a mental illness or addiction. But what does it mean? A year-long project by experts nationwide has led to a new definition of the term that is meant to help doctors, counselors and policymakers who oversee the field.
And it just might help people who are in recovery, too.
The new definition is thoughtful, if not pithy:
“A process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential.”
The definition was announced Thursday by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. It’s “a significant milestone in promoting greater public awareness and appreciation for the importance of recovery, and widespread support for the services that can make it a reality for millions of Americans,” said SAMHSA administrator Pamela S. Hyde.
Click here to read more.